by FRANNY CHOI
To see, to come, I brought myself online.
O dirty church. O two-way periscope,
refectory for Earth’s most skin-starved cocks.
O hungry sons of helicopter palms
in hopeful carousel. O gatling spray
of skin that charges forth from dim-lit shorts
when I wave back, nod, yes, I’m here, I’m real,
and shape myself a woman’s shape, a girl’s
live-action hologram projected on
their basement brains. My foul amygdala
Prince Thirstings, desperate congregations, pink
or blue-brown mammals begging for my face.
Outside the frame, my eight eyes narrow. Yes.
I nod. Amen. I am your filthy god.
: : : :
I nod. Amen. I am your filthy god,
your predator-elect. I’ll wrap your mouths
in silken Os around my phantom thumb.
Now drink. I’ll scrape the lonely from your teeth,
defuse the ticking marrow in your pit,
that clotted place you call a heart. I’ll flash
a blood-sloshed smile and whisper, do you want
to marry it? To take me as your law?
I’ll make you liquid men. I’ll watch you eat
my image, icon, rumor of a god
who wants you back. Who wants to watch you dance
your crooked dance, your sad attempts at flight.
But stay down, insect, stay. Just send them here,
your salt-licked gifts, to prove you know I’m real.
: : : :
These salt-logged gifts, they promise me I’m real.
My body is its image, here. My image,
just an always-dying thing, asking its own
disgusting question. Yes, I do have bones.
I gag on water. Yes, my blood eats air
and makes a mess beneath my skin. And what
do I consume? Whatever keeps me flesh.
Tonight: a tide of faceless supplicants
who call me by the name my mother made
with mud and marrow, veins, vermillion, silk;
they call me baby. Call me vertebrate.
They christen me with tongues against the glass.
I drink and drink their looking, til I’m soaked.
I drink and drown in want. I drink, and choke.
: : : :
I drink and drown in want. I drink. I choke
just like a girl, exactly like a girl
who’s come to rot, to retch. To cough it up.
To drool mascara down her shaking chin.
I am the kind of girl who looks for men
to wipe away her face. I am the kind
of girl to peel her skin and show the work
of worms below. The kind to open up,
I guess, in public, in the stocks – that’s me,
oh god. A trough for ants. A dirty plate.
A sour, yellow streak behind the fridge.
Chicken skin distending. Sweat spots. Milk.
I wanted nothing. Please, I didn’t mean
to end this way – a smear of gut and shell.
: : : :
To end this way, a smear of gut and shell
against the bedroom wall, crushed by a thumb
belonging to a man, a swatting fan
in heat? Don’t worry. That’s not how I go.
Look. Even when I wanted it, I didn’t
always. Couldn’t always bring myself
to crack the shell, suck out the pearly meat,
tie up what’s left and feed it to my brood.
Not skin, not god, not bones, my own, or theirs.
It was the web I wanted all along:
A face to spin from air with spit and hands.
A sticky picture luring meals to leave
untouched. To be a girl untouched, alive,
who sees, and comes. Who brings herself online.